The Presidency

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It's the night of the presidential inauguration, 2009. We are in the White House with the new presidential team that has just transformed the political system of the United States.

The president is having a good time. Her beautiful red velvet gown shimmers in the candlelight, while her long dark hair frames her intelligent face in casual splendor. Her vice president is standing behind her, recounting their amazing victory. It is a moment of reminiscence and celebration.

Something radical has just happened, despite the predictions of the pundits and the mass media. The presidential team has been swept into victory by an 11th hour popular uprising. They developed a campaign so powerful at the grassroots level that they are being called the founding mothers and fathers of the next stage of democracy. They were the first team who could begin to appeal to the higher needs of an incipient majority for unity, compassion, and a comprehensive approach to the environmental crisis. They are basking in the glow of a truly great achievement.

Just as the experts had been astonished when the Berlin Wall came down in 1990, so now the pundits sit in stunned amazement at the White House celebration, speechless for once in the face of the vast social uprising that came forth during this campaign. Here are but a few highlights of what happened. The full history has yet to be written.

Making the Decision

In 2006, in the privacy of her heart, after deep contemplation and prayer, a woman made a critical decision. Eve Fuller (a fictional name) was a mother, an author, and a student of evolution, history, and social/spiritual change. She knew we were a global system at the edge of chaos. A small perturbation could transform the whole system, for good or for bad. Since it was a whole-system crisis, what was needed was a whole-system response. The American people needed a realistic vision of positive options for the future; not single examples of hope, caring, and success against the tide of despair, but innovations and breakthroughs that were interconnected and that together represented the natural evolutionary trend-the organizing intelligence of nature itself toward a more cooperative and life-enhancing world.

Eve's ideas had been shaped by Abraham Maslow's humanistic psychology that each of us has intrinsic growth needs for higher values and chosen, meaningful work; by Teilhard de Chardin's idea that God is at work in the process of evolution, leading to ever more complex systems with ever greater consciousness and freedom; and Buckminster Fuller's awareness that we have the resources, technology, and know-how to make this system work for everyone without damage to the environment.

Eve's profound indignation for the suffering of billions of people was combined with a passionate love of science, quantum physics, the space program, and the evolutionary significance of high technology as, potentially, an expansion of human consciousness and freedom. She saw that these new powers were preparing the way for our species to evolve from its self-centered, planet-bound, scarcity-ridden condition to its whole-centered, spirit-centered, literally universal phase.

She felt that the secular and the spiritual are fused in the deep human impulse to create and express the potential within each of us. She knew that everyone has a vital creative calling that is needed for the fulfillment of the person and the whole community. It seemed impossible in the competitive, commercial world to create a society in which people could express their life purpose in meaningful work, since most of us are now trapped in jobs or roles that inhibit self-expression and deaden our souls. Yet Eve saw that this will become possible-indeed, natural-at the next stage of socioeconomic development, when people are reassembled in human-scale communities and the knowledge society/solar age matures.

This was the real opportunity that was brought for the first time on Earth to masses of people by an affluent and free society. Material goals, once achieved, do not fulfill the human spirit. They are not the end; they are the beginning of the next phase of human development. Eve envisioned a presidential campaign that could ride upon the crest of desire to self-actualize through meaningful life purpose.

Creating Leadership

Once she had made her decision in the privacy of her heart, Eve's first step was to call her friends to help identify the best leaders in each key field, practical visionaries who had already manifested success in their work and who were well-networked with others in their fields. She sought to form a transition team that would incorporate new paradigm thinkers and activists with establishment baby boom leaders who-as a result of entering their sixties, moved by inner spiritual awakenings, their children grown and their careers secure-were looking again toward the future. This coalition between establishment types and new paradigm leaders would be difficult to create. However, she felt that it would be possible due to the fact that the nation was at peace, China had developed a more democratic system and was no longer perceived as a threat, and everywhere people realized that the environmental crisis was the number one threat on Earth.

By 2006, moreover, there was enough consensus on new public policy and conflict prevention that she believed that more establishment types would be ready to learn from the new paradigm leaders. People like William Ford of Ford Motor Company, retired general Colin Powell, and former secretary of the treasury Larry Summers were already transitional leaders from the establishment.

The paradigm leaders were people like Dee Dickinson in education, who had put together the New Horizons for Learning Web site for innovations in mind/body/spirit education and was already reaching hundreds of thousands of teachers; Hazel Henderson in eco-economic and social policy; Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins in environment and energy; former Republican congresswoman Claudine Schneider in spiritually motivated political action; Larry Dossey, Andrew Weil, and Deepak Chopra in alternative, integrative, and complementary health and healing; Jean Houston in human potential; Lester Brown, Robert Kennedy Jr., and Thom Hartmann in environment; Marshall Rosenberg in compassionate communication and conflict resolution; Scott Peck in community building; citizen diplomat Rama Vernon and Joe Montville, formerly of the State Department, in conflict prevention and citizen diplomacy; Eleanor LeCain, Gordon Davidson, and Corinne McLaughlin in best practices; Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley, and Dee Hock in organizational development; Neale Donald Walsch, best-selling author of Conversations with God, and Barbara Field Bernstein, master of organization, in spirituality and religion; and many others.

Eve also contacted John Hagelin, quantum physicist and founder of the Natural Law Party, which had been creating the largest third-party effort in U.S. history, collecting the millions of petition signatures required to be on the ballot in all 50 states, running thousands of candidates for local, state, and federal offices. For many years, he had asked people to 'take ownership of the party.' She knew that this party was founded by people who practice Transcendental Meditation and believe that the development of our full mental and emotional potential is the key to social change, and that over the years, the party had expanded to embrace all forms of practical spirituality, seeking out social innovations and solutions that work in all fields.She also asked Don Beck, author of Spiral Dynamics, who had charted the memetic codes that guide the behavior of different cultures and who had helped overcome apartheid in South Africa, to help them construct a new memetic code based on life-enhancing policies and social innovations in every field. (A meme is a self-replicating idea that guides the development of a culture, just as a gene informs the building of a body.)

Her list made, Eve invited these leaders to meet as the guests of a church where she had once spoken. Its motto was 'Resolve to Evolve-The Only Solution Is Our Evolution.' In the sanctuary of the church, she stood and bowed her head in silence. It was a sacred moment.

Eve lifted her head and said, 'I propose that we form a presidential team to transform the American presidency and to set the pattern for the transformation of our society.

'This team is to be initiated by people like ourselves who are willing to spend enough time to learn what each other knows, to discover the synergies between our various initiatives, and to work together to develop an Evolutionary Agenda-the real, practical options for a positive future. Although we can reach into the past for the wisdom we have lost, we cannot go back. We can only move forward.

'The Agenda will seek to realize Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs applied to society: basic needs for food, security, shelter, self-esteem; growth needs for self-rewarding work of intrinsic value; and transcendent needs to be part of a larger whole, and to go beyond the limitations imposed upon us by self-centered consciousness and a constricted view of our full personal, social, and technological potential. Our task is, at this stage, to link evolutionary, futuristic innovations that work with the best of existing environmental and social policies-to pull the whole system forward.

'Instead of playing adversarial politics, we will develop a 'politics of the whole.' We will form a Citizens' Coalition. Our motto will be 'Don't attack, attract.' The process of the campaign is the key, not only the policies, important as they are. Representative individualistic democracy has reached a limit. We need a more cooperative, participatory, synergistic democracy, a 'synocracy,' to fulfill the next phase of the American Revolution.

'We will invite people, regardless of party or ideology, to gather in large town meetings in the round, representing the community as a whole system. People will be invited to enter the sector of their choice-health, education, environment, economics, arts and media, and so on-to express their visions, their goals, their needs, and their personal desire to create in that field. We will facilitate them to seek common goals, match needs and resources, and find teammates to realize their vocations and projects. We will ask them what they know is really working.

'I propose that we work with the Natural Law Party, which is on the ballot in every district of the country. John Hagelin has already formed a national coalition of third parties, including the Greens and the Reform Party, along with mainstream Republicans, Democrats, and those who do not vote because they do not believe it will make a difference.'

She nodded in appreciation to John, who for almost 2 decades had dedicated himself to building this new political base. A look of relief and joy crossed his features. He bowed his head.

'We need only one more catalytic act to shift the tide of American politics,' Eve concluded.

Her speech was met by silence. Finally, one of the listeners arose, a highly successful academic and author. 'My dear,' he said, 'you have stated the case. You have set the goal. I have been waiting all my life for the chance to do this. I'm in!' One by one, all the guests, who had been well-selected, stepped forward and committed themselves to the great work ahead.

Preparing the Message

The team spent the next few months on the Internet and in occasional meetings, sharing their visions, their personal intuitions as to what is emergent and working, and how the various projects and programs interconnect as parts of a living system that is based on the scientific reality of underlying unity from which all of Nature's evolutionary laws can be derived.

They acted as if they were already members of the Cabinet of the United States that actually guides the nation. They solidified the vision, bringing the future into the present. They decided that they would offer themselves as a team, to dispel the fallacy that any one person knows how to save the world. They saw an essential role of government to be to empower, coordinate, and inspire the work and creativity of the people and grassroots organizations already working effectively on a small scale.

Eve was their presidential candidate. The first man to offer his support at the meeting, Dr. Alan Jones, was selected to be the vice presidential candidate. Three teams were set up: one for policy, another for participation and synergy, and a third for social innovations.They then began the fascinating work of reaching out to projects that had already been working to change a whole system, like Mimi Silbert's Delancy Street Foundation in San Francisco, where ex-convicts and former drug addicts learn entrepreneurship and rarely return to prison; microcredit loans for the very poor, which were begun in Bangladesh and are now spreading around the world; or Deborah Myers's South Central School in Harlem, where 90 percent of the students go on to college.

They started to flesh out the evolutionary agenda based on these initiatives, which were already creating new possibilities.

Working with Eleanor LeCain, they developed an Internet site called the Peace Room to scan for, map, connect, and communicate the best innovations and practices in every field, to allow people who want to get involved to know what is working, who can be their mentors, and how to find their teammates right where they live. They declared that the Peace Rooms on Earth would one day be more sophisticated than the war rooms of the world.

The team connected all relevant hot links and leaders of networks of positive change in every field, devising the most exciting set of options for the American people that had ever been put together-a new American pragmatism, irresistibly attractive, practical yet visionary.

It was the first campaign for, of, and by what social analyst Paul Ray called at the end of the 20th century 'the cultural creatives,' people whose values were already changing toward planetary consciousness, gender balance, sustainability, human rights, compassion, partnership, personal responsibility, social justice, nondenominational spirituality .At that time, they were an estimated 44 million, or one-fifth of the American population. Their number had since swelled, and they formed an incipient majority.

Eve believed that the campaign could gain immediate financial support from some of the founders of the high-tech era, those who had personal spiritual experience combined with the vision of resource-efficient economic growth and the intention to prevent further environmental destruction. She was grateful that the campaign-finance laws had been changed and there was now full public sponsorship, including free media, and no soft money for the presidential race. The campaign was launched on CNN worldwide. (Eve was a good friend of Ted Turner's. He agreed boldly to give the campaign worldwide coverage.) The event was designed with the flair of a NASA space launch. The whole team was on the set, standing together.

Eve stood forward and said, 'This is an announcement of the Campaign for a Positive Future. I am running with this team for the presidency of the United States of America. If you elect me, here are the people who will serve you with me. Our purpose is to provide to you, to every person in this country, the opportunity to participate in creating the world you choose.

'We will come to every region of the United States to meet you face-to-face and find out from you what is already working. We will invite you to gather in large town meetings in the round, to share with each other and with us what you want to create, what your needs are, and what resources you are willing to give.

'Our Peace Room on the Internet will map and track breakthroughs from one part of the country to the next. We will ask that old military bases be used as situation rooms. Many retired military and corporate executives are offering to help design and monitor the vital signs of problems and solutions, of creativity and new possibilities in the United States. We are inviting our friends and neighbors in every country in the world to do the same. The Peace Room is open to the planet. In our first 4 years, we will have a full picture of the emerging world. This campaign is a call to bring together the greatest force for positive change that the world has ever seen.'A large wheel representing all sectors of society was visibly and graphically displayed on television. Innovators and projects already working were flashed on the screen and shown to be connected as vital parts of the whole system. Many of the social pioneers were gathered in the television studio, dramatically sharing their vision and practical solutions. Innovators came in by satellite to demonstrate the actions that were already working to educate, to clean the environment, to develop nonpolluting energy, to heal, to resolve conflict, and so on. The vice presidential candidate, followed by members of the proposed Cabinet, stood forward and spoke, pointing to demonstrations to back up policies and initiatives.

Eve concluded her talk: 'We can ensure that every new automobile gets 100 miles to the gallon, according to William Ford, our proposed energy secretary and former head of Ford Motors. We can save the world's rainforests, coral reefs, and oceans by shifting 2 percent of the defense budget to such goals without endangering national security, a plan to be implemented by Colin Powell, our proposed secretary of defense. We can focus on low-cost disease prevention rather than continue to waste money on high-cost cures, a new direction that can save $100 billion in the nation's medical bills, according to studies conducted by Andrew Weil and Dean Ornish, our nominated advisors to the department of health and human services.

'Come and join us in creating a positive future for yourself, your children, and your communities,' she ended.

The Momentum of Change

The event was a spectacular success. It topped the ratings for that night, causing panic in the other campaigns. It no longer seemed cool to make your announcement all alone and pretend that you knew what to do. The other candidates began to seek out initiatives that were working. In fact, it became the new one-upmanship in American politics. Instead of fighting against one another, political candidates in the Democratic and Republican parties tried to gain attention by finding the most exciting innovations.

But Eve and the Citizens' Coalition were way ahead of the others. They were already networked to the vast civil society. The social-potential movement came alive. Musicians drew crowds to the town meetings in the round, which became combinations of revival meetings, country fairs, and Chautauquas.

Politicians of all kinds wanted to speak at the events. No one dared be left out. Teams of therapists and counselors assisted citizens who had been marginalized. They formed a Council of High Priority Needs and coached people who had been rejected to enter the process of change. Organizational-development consultants helped design and facilitate the synergistic meetings.

CNN covered the events live. Town meetings in the round spread like wildfire at the grassroots level. The meetings were like self-replicating cells of a new social life, working on the '3 Ps'-Policy, Projects, and Process. They spread to other countries. In China, a mass movement appeared, attracting people into an effort to build a freely cooperative process to take them beyond the social failures of greed, pollution, and unemployment brought on by the early stage of capitalism. The meetings proclaimed the era of cooperation and creativity. The Communist Party did not know whether they were to be feared or propagated.

Wherever town meetings occurred, permanent Positive Future Centers sprang up, serving as hubs for like-minded citizens to gather, support each other, pray together, and work to rebuild their communities. The candidates asked all Centers, at every meeting, to visualize the victory of the Campaign for a Positive Future as already accomplished, to affirm that the people had won, that the team had been elected, and that Positive Future Centers were self-organizing throughout the world. Thousands of separate centers began every meeting with envisioning, praying for, and affirming the victory. The larger mass meditations for peace all predicated the Campaign's victory.

The power of prayer was directly applied to healing social disease and promoting wellness throughout the land. The secular and the spiritual joined in one breath and one purpose, animating the people involved with a new spirit of hope and even happiness. Instead of rallying for a war effort or natural disaster, people were excited about coming together to create. Eve coined the phrase 'Vocational arousal is sweeping the nation.'

The team discovered that a community in Santa Barbara, California, had already pioneered tools and templates for any community to form a 'more perfect union' where every person was called upon to make a contribution and where all levels of government and citizen groups were coordinating themselves for long range, holistic environmental and social goals. The Santa Barbara cooperative worked around the clock, training facilitators from all over the country.

Although extreme right-wing conservatives were dismayed, and at first attempted to discredit the team, they were eventually disarmed because the programs and processes were in fact new ways to realize their goals of less government control and more responsibility at the local level. The team also attracted Libertarians, liberal baby boomers, disaffected voters from both main parties, and, above all, the young. This was their campaign, and they would win it! The momentum was irresistible.

There was a three-way race-as had happened years before for the governorship in Minnesota-between Eve and the team, a Democrat, and a Republican. The Citizens' Coalition won. In one profound moment, the United States returned-after a too-long hiatus-to being a beacon of the next stage of human freedom, a partner to people everywhere on Earth.

Barbara Marx Hubbard is a futurist and lecturer who has authored four books, most recently Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential. Hubbard was placed in nomination for the vice presidency of the United States on the Democratic ticket in 1984, where she received more than 200 delegates' signatures to propose to the Convention a Peace Room in the office of the vice president. She is president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution in Santa Barbara, California.

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